gods. Blur first showed up as the London
antidote to Madchester
with their single There's No Other Way
and their album Leisure
, in 1991, followed by the 1993 album Modern Life is Rubbish
. These were a moderate success, but when they appeared at Aston University
's Fresher's Ball
later that year, they were considered has-been
s, and most people preferred to concentrate on their drink than the band.
Consider these students' surprise, then, when Blur returned triumphantly to stardom with their laddish singalong-friendly Parklife single, and accompanying album, in 1994.
A much publicised rivalry with Oasis followed, possibly pushed by record company pressure, leading to a disappointing 1995 followup album, The Great Escape, with its irritating, laughable single Country House (complete with farcical Benny Hill-esque video directed by Damien Hurst).
The band were deeply unhappy with the direction they were taking, and a hiatus ensued. When they returned in 1997 with the album Blur, it was (to me) a triumph. Straightforward, driving, guitar-led songs like MOR and Song 2 (adopted by almost every MTV-ified sporting occasion on the planet) were complemented by gentler songs such as Beetlebum and Death of a Party.
The album 13 brings us up to date and sees the gospel-tinged Tender, as the first single. The whole album is consumed by singer-songwriter Damon Albarn's despair upon losing a girlfriend (Elastica's Justine Frischmann -- not dead, just left him).